Hey, ObamaCare: Learn From Colorado's Pot Rollout

Nick Gillespie offers up 3 lessons
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2014 1:00 PM CST
Hey, ObamaCare: Learn From Colorado's Pot Rollout
A line waits outside the Cannabis Club on Main Street in downtown Breckenridge, Colo., for an 8am opening of the store, Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Kathryn Scott Osler)

What's the difference between the rollout of ObamaCare and the rollout of legal marijuana sales in Colorado? Well, the latter was "overwhelmingly successful." The former, not so much. "Both policies ... fundamentally challenge our nation’s legal structures, business practices, and social customs," writes Nick Gillespie for Time, meaning "all politicians, activists, and citizens contemplating transformative reform to the status quo" should look to Colorado for pointers. Here are a few:

  • "Start small." Colorado is "relatively small and isolated," making it the perfect first state to allow legal recreational pot sales. "As the designers of HealthCare.gov could tell you, going all-in before various options have been tried and beta-tested is almost always a really bad idea."
  • "Use markets—the freer the better—as much as possible." Colorado's pot market is functioning fairly well because shops are free to change prices to reflect demand. ObamaCare, on the other hand, "is predicated upon fixing prices and levels of service in an infinite number of ways (including forcing people to engage in economic activity whether they want to or not)." And that likely won't end well.
  • "Decentralize decisionmaking as much as possible." Arguably the most important point in Colorado's "end to pot prohibition" is that "the decision to smoke dope or not is left up to individuals." If the president had found a way to avoid forcing consumers to buy insurance, "he not only would have avoided a ton of political and legal opposition, he might even have won over more people to his side."
Click for Gillespie's full column. (Read more marijuana legalization stories.)

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